Bantamweight Brandon Lewis has faced trials and tribulations on his path to receiving the chance of fighting on DWCS. The 24-year-old believes everything that he’s endured has prepared him for the big moment that lies ahead of him.
Lewis is set to appear on week three of the latest installment of the Contender Series. In this exclusive conversation with the rising talent, we delve into the back injury that held him out of competition for over three years, how he was able to fight on the amateur level before turning 18 and much more.
The fighter from Florida dons the nickname “Superman” when he’s in the cage. Yet, the nickname is applicable to his life outside the cage too — as he’s fought through a back injury that sidelined him for over three years.
Brandon Lewis Interview
“Yeah so after my fight at LFA 16 in 2017 I took a very short time off and then I was right back to it,” Lewis began. “I was ready to get right back in there, but I actually had a bad run where fights kept getting canceled. Then, at that point in my career, I was kinda on that borderline of like OK you need to be ready for anything that comes your way. I was just training hard and staying ready the whole time. Just bringing up the intensity of fight camp and then fights falling through had my intensity level way up for about a year.”
“Then I started implementing some weight lifting,” he said. “And one day I was lifting and I ruptured a disk in my back. I didn’t know what it was at first, I thought it may have been a glute issue. I went to therapy and they narrowed it down to a ruptured disk and the pain I was feeling was sciatica. At a certain point, I kept trying to train through it and stay ready. Then, one day I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t tie my shoes, and everyday tasks became really hard for me.”
“I didn’t have health insurance at the time and I just focused on work for a while,” Lewis confirmed. “I got health insurance, but it took a whole year to schedule the surgery. Then, I got the surgery and it took about six months to recover and I was finally able to get back into training. After like six to eight months back in the gym, I wanted to take another fight again. It was like a three-and-a-half-year layoff from one fight to the other.”
In moments like that, where an injury strips away the thing that someone loves most, it’s vital to have people in your corner supporting you along the way.
“That’s one thing people closest to me kept reminding me,” Lewis said in regards to being such a young athlete. “It hit me really hard because I’ve been training since I was really young, like 10 years old. So training is just routine, it’s my outlet. So not having that outlet for myself definitely gave me a different type of struggle. It made me learn to manage and cope with certain things in a different way. The good thing is I got to focus on work and other aspects of my life. In turn, I believe it was something good.”
The Climb Back
“As terrible as it was, it was something that was good for me,” Brandon Lewis proclaimed. “It allowed me to reset a little bit and just kind of settle into being a different person and a different fighter. I’m glad I went through that experience so now I know how to train a lot smarter.”
“Just knowing that the doctor said ‘hey if you push too hard you could re-rupture it and you’d need an infusion’, meaning I could never fight again. So coming into my next fight and all my future fights I run the risk of one wrong move and I could reinjure it. I know that risk and I’m OK with it. I love this sport so if that’s the thing that puts me out, so be it.”
“Superman” made his return to combat sports last March at LFA 102. He earned a split-decision victory, which eventually led to the call from the UFC. As you saw, I was throwing hard shots, I had a little adrenaline dump just out of pure excitement of being back in there. I felt on point though, no ring rust really. I’ll be able to handle my emotions and excitement much better for this next fight coming up.”
Brandon Lewis Ready for Contender Series
“I wasn’t really expecting the call honestly,” he revealed. “That was the route I wanted to take. I always wanted to go on the Contender Series, but I honestly thought I was gonna need another fight or two to get on there, but they hit me up and I wasn’t gonna say no. I feel good, I feel like I’m ready for the moment and the level of competition. I’m 100% confident in my abilities.”
Lewis takes on Mo Miller in a battle of unbeaten bantamweights on Sept. 14 in the third episode of this season’s DWCS. “Superman” has displayed great perseverance on his way to this big opportunity ahead of him. He’s a prospect to watch for sure.